Congrats to you! You’ve made that amazing decision to move abroad for TEFL Teaching and see the world! Exciting right? At the TEFL Institute, we are here to make sure that your experience is something you’ll look back on with fond memories. We know it’s stressful to make that move and we also know that it may be your first time doing it. Don’t worry! This blog should help you learn from our mistakes (we are all ex-travelers and love to talk to you all about our journeys, the good, the bad, and the ugly). Here are the top 10 tips for making that move as smooth as possible. 

Top 10 Tips for Moving Abroad for TEFL Teaching

1. Prepare your Documents and Have Backups

There is nothing worse than not being prepared. Make sure to print out everything you may need, from your visa to certifications to proof of address. Also, back these up by scanning them into Dropbox or Google Drive. Having a scan of your passport can make it a whole lot easier for embassies to help you out. 

2. Research the country and its culture

The main reason why people experience homesickness or “get the ick” for a country is not knowing what they’re getting into. Doing a little research on the country you are moving as a TEFL teacher will help you prepare for their customs and way of life.

culture holi day

3. Network with other teachers living there

With social media, the world has become a lot more connected. Don’t just share your journey with your friends and family but reach out to like-minded people and make new friends! There are lots of Facebook and LinkedIn groups to help connect TEFL teachers across the globe, so take full advantage.

4. Look back over your TEFL course materials

You may have passed your TEFL certification, but how easily we forget. Looking back over your TEFL teaching course materials will jolt your memory. This will prove very helpful during your interviews, demo lessons, orientations, and in your first class.

5. Research the school

It’s a good idea to have a sneak peek at the school you’ll be in. This is the place you’ll be for 30 hours a week. Try and get the names of the principal. See what else they teach there. If it’s private or publicly funded. This will give you the upper hand in starting your new job and prepare you for what’s to come. 

TEFL Teaching Classroom Abroad

6. Prepare to stay longer

You may go for just one semester or a year. Sometimes in countries, this doesn’t require a full working permit, especially if you’re on an internship. Our advice is to always prepare to stay longer. You may need some documents at the end of your contract if you’d like to renew so think ahead for that day to come. 

7. Travel with a friend

Having a traveling companion can make life a lot easier and a lot less lonely when actually making the move. From saying goodbye at the airport to organizing a taxi upon arrival, having a friend there can really help the situation. Two heads are better than one!

8. Travel with an internship

If you’ve decided to do the journey by yourself, well done to you! It’s a great way to branch out and get out of your comfort zone. A good idea if it’s your first time traveling is to go with an internship. Internship organizations help you with your visa, pick you up from the airport, and provide or help you find accommodation. Check out the internships that are open for applications now. 

9. Have your job lined up

A lot of people move to another country without having a job lined up and that’s ok! For most industries, employers want to interview you in person. However, in the TEFL industry, it’s very common to have virtual interviews and a contract before you go. This will take the stress of saving for a couple of months of expenditure out of the move. 

10. Pack light

You are not going for a quick holiday where you pack for each day and come back with the same. You are moving abroad. With long-term stays, you’ll find that your style will change as you adapt to your new surroundings. You’ll also find that your creams and toiletries will be a lot cheaper when you travel away from the western world. We would suggest, depending on the country you are going to, to have your electronics with you and working well. Be sure to look into voltages and plug adapters too! 

heavy bag packing for TEFL Teaching Abroad

Best of luck with your travels! Remember, we are here to chat with all of our students and alumni. We have personal and professional experience with moving abroad and are just a call away. 


Is TEFL teaching English abroad a good idea?

Yes, 100%! Teaching English abroad as a TEFL teacher not only helps you gain teaching experience but life experience too. Learning about another culture will stand to you personally and professionally later in life. A lot of future employers love to see travel experience and work experience in another country on your resume/CV as it shows that you are a fast learner and adaptable to new environments. 

What qualifications do I need to teach English abroad?

There are two requirements to look at; the work visa and the school requirements. For the most part, you’ll need a TEFL certification. This alone qualifies you to teach English. Whether you need the minimum standard 120 hour TEFL certificate or a level 5 TEFL qualification is up to the school you are applying to. Some countries require a Bachelor’s degree for the work permit, so this is also something to keep an eye on. 

How hard is teaching English abroad?

Like any new career path, the first few weeks will be the bumpiest. You’ll need some time to adjust and extra time put aside for lesson planning. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll surprise yourself with how much of an expert you’ve become! This will seem like an impossible feat, but trust us, that day will come sooner than you think.

Which country needs the most English teachers?

Due to the sheer population of southeast Asian countries and the demand to speak English, these countries need the most English teachers. We are talking hundreds, if not thousands of jobs are available today alone! This is not to put a damper on other regions as TEFL teachers are needed in every non-native English-speaking country. Your best bet is to pick a country you’d enjoy and there will be a job there.

Where is the best place to teach English abroad?

We can’t tell you that! The best place to teach abroad is where you’ll be most happy. Write down what is important to you, whether it’s your hobby (like hiking or bungee jumping), your paycheck, or the community and local language. Once you know what you want, you can make an informed decision. The most popular areas would be central Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America. 

Can I teach English abroad without a degree?

Yes, there are many places where you can teach abroad without having a degree. Make sure to look up the country’s work visa requirements before looking for jobs as this will rule out the countries you won’t be able to go to. Some TEFL schools (such as business English private schools) require a Bachelor’s degree also. It does limit your choices without one, but it’s by no means impossible. We’d recommend completing the Level 5 TEFL Certification as this will pad up your resume/CV to potential employers. 

How do you know if teaching abroad is for you?

Teaching abroad is certainly not for everyone. That’s ok! There are online teaching options too and a demand for ESL teachers in your home country. Your dream doesn’t stop there. But how do you know if it’s the right decision? If you’re apprehensive, never traveled before, or are a bit of a home bird, why not try out a summer camp or short-term contract first that is closer to home. These types of opportunities don’t require experience and if you hate it, well it’s okay because you’ll be home in a few weeks anyway.

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